City police partner to help keep kids safe online

Westfield Police Lt. Eric Hall. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS PHOTO)

WESTFIELD- The Westfield Police Department will join the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office, and the FBI in an online presentation on “Keeping Kids Safe and Secure Online” June 16 at 6:30 p.m..

The Presentation will feature opening remarks from Hampden County District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni. Other speakers include Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex J. Grant, Assistant DA Johanna Margeson, FBI Task Force Officer Danielle Rex, Westfield Police Lt. Eric Hall and Victim Witness Specialist Lauryn Myers. 

The “Keeping Kids Safe and Secure Online” presentation will be for adults only, as the discussed topics will not be appropriate for children. Those who watch it are urged to wear headphones and shield their viewing screen from others in the room. 

Specific topics in the presentation include social media, online gaming, cyberbullying, sexting, sexual extortion, victim support, and protecting against online predators. 

Hall has been with the WPD for 25 years. He was part of the Community Policing Unit for 15 years, leading the unit for several years. In the presentation he will likely draw from his experience in bringing the Rachel’s Challenge Program, an anti-bullying and character-building program, to Westfield Public Schools. The Rachel’s Challenge program is based on the life of Rachel Joy Scott, the first of 12 people to be killed in the Columbine High School shooting on April 20, 1999.

Grant joined the U.S. Attorney’s Springfield Branch Office in 2006. He has been prosecuting human trafficking and child exploitation cases since 1999.

Margeson is a native of western Massachusetts with degrees in both law and public health. She spent a year working for HIPS, a Washington, D.C. based non-profit that focuses on harm reduction for sex workers and people who engage in drug use. She joined the Special Victims and Domestic Violence Units in 2019 to handle district court cases in Springfield.

Rex is in the FBI, but she began her career locally with the Longmeadow Police Department in 2011. She joined the department’s Detective Bureau in 2017 and was appointed as a Task Force Officer with the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force. She also teaches self defense courses in the town’s annual Citizen’s Police Academy.

Myers is the Victim and Witness Specialist handling all child exploitation cases throughout Massachusetts. She has a degree in psychology and has helped hundreds of victims through the process of criminal prosecutions against their aggressors.

Register for the presentation at https://www.cityofwestfield.org/civicalerts.aspx?AID=1132.

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